Tough week with the weather and friends in and out of town and wanting to run with them and having trouble sleeping etc. but still I hit all my miles. So far so good! I ended up with a 4-4-7-7 string of days at the beginning of the week, just couldn’t get into a seven miler in the torrential rain with no friends to run with me, so I interrupted Hal Higdon’s order of things. My long run was 14 and that felt scary all week–I have some things to learn about staying in the mile I’m in–and it ended up being kind of scary. The novelty was running to the Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge, we drive over it all the time when we go to the beach, and it was very exciting to finally get there, but the problem was the general lack of shade between home and the ocean. I left late, 7:30, and didn’t wear a hat, and that ended up feeling just awful, an endurance experience of the first order. But I gutted it out. I stopped in front of a sprinkler on a lawn in Far Rockaway, a neighborhood rumored to be very unfriendly, but the guy out front chatted me about my progress so far, offered me a Gatorade from his fridge, admired me for my overheated slog. But guess what: I checked my watch at the end and my pace was on point the whole way, even steven. So much of this is in the head.
This was a step back week and for some reason that made all the miles feel longer. Why? I was traveling again, which meant running in new places (fantastic) and some modicum of planning (less fun). After a three miler on Monday I found six in Saratoga Springs, where I went to pick up Kate after her epic bike tour. I asked at the running store for a good route and was pointed to the state park a mile from downtown, but alas didn’t go quite far enough before turning into the wrong part of the park–no running trails; very small–so missed the rolling hills and instead made do with city streets, which to be fair included running past the track as horses worked out on the backstretch, so it’s hard to complain. Then Kate and I drove to Baltimore and I logged another 3-6-9 (ooh! trifecta!) in a city that turned out to have greenways galore. I turned right on my first run, all the runners were white; left on my second run, all the runners were black. A marker in Druid Hill Park said the parks in Baltimore only desegregated in 1951, and I can say there is still quite a way to go. My long run was wonderful, a mile from Kate’s house to the Jones Falls trail, then a meander through the park, behind the zoo, people here and there (all saying hello, this is not NYC after all) but mostly a surprising feeling of quiet, an urban forest that felt like the great outdoors. I finished up my miles on Saturday so I could hang out with Karen and Oscar when we woke up on Sunday. But I’m entering the part of training where I’m thinking a lot about training. This week bumps up mileage to 36, with a 14 miles long run. It feels like it’s starting to get serious. I’m a little scared. So far my body feels good, nothing to report out of the week beyond some back pain. I’m trying to stick with the mantra run the mile you’re in, run the mile you’re in, both during my runs and on my off days, when it’s hard not to feel engulfed by all the miles left to go until November 1. But I’ve got a four miler on the docket for tomorrow morning, sitting still tonight.
My running buddies both left town on Saturday and my schedule set my long run for Sunday so I was all by myself for a 12 miler in the heat, not my favorite thing. I texted Maria to see if she wanted to have breakfast Sunday so that I could at least have a destination and she said yes so the run took me from my place to 39th Street to 2nd Avenue, 2nd Avenue south to Shore Road and this route under the Verrazano Bridge. There is only one way across this bridge as a pedestrian, and that’s in the NYC marathon. 12 weeks away! My right big toe bugged me, but only on the long run, felt fine the rest of the week. My right knee felt a little wobbly here and there, but nothing serious. So far, my body is holding up, and I’m feeling really lucky about that. Long runs only get longer from here, so a few lessons from this week: I need to eat better the night before a long run because it is harder to run long with a cheeseburger as fuel. The bad food is simply not worth the feeling the next day. Carry water. Fountains aren’t plentiful everywhere, I only saw one on my long run this week, and while I can stop and buy a bottle of water, that drove my route in ways I didn’t like, and I didn’t drink early enough. I made a few investments this week as well, in a new race belt that is beloved by the ultrarunners in my aspirational ultrarunner Facebook group, and another handful of Gus. I’m adding those into my training regimen, so far a gel at mile 8 is the plan, I need to figure out fueling as the runs get longer. Overall really pleased with my ability to stick with the plan all the way this week, a bump to 30 miles total: 3-6-3-6-12.
I’ve been traveling and in and out of town and that has made it hard to keep track of everything, except for my mileage, which has started to be the most riveting thing in my world. Turns out the intermediate plan is mostly about getting used to running five days a week in the beginning–mileage isn’t out of the ordinary yet, but I did turn in 29 miles this week and will do 30 next week, I think I only hit 30 weekly miles twice near the very end of the plan I used last year. More mileage makes me feel more confident, though my lack of speed work puts me at odds with nearly everyone else I talk to about marathon training. Except my dad. So, he’s in my higher-mileage corner. So far my body is holding up well. I have some upper back/shoulder pain attributable to sitting at my computer and a weak core, I guess, and my right big toe continues to be an issue. Lots of pain, so I think I’ll go see a podiatrist about it, just to be sure it isn’t anything more than what I think it is. So here was my week, modified to enable me to go to Philadelphia with my sweetheart for the weekend without spending half of the trip out for a run: 3-6-6-11-3.
This week I was at Camp Michigania with Karen and her family and that meant running country miles in the hills of northern Michigan. But they say hills are speedwork in disguise so that was the mantra. I suspect the point of the first three weeks of the intermediate plan was to get my body comfortable running five days a week, hence the relatively low mileage, a long run of only six, which I reserved for home in Brooklyn, god, those hills. The week was 3-5-3-5-6 for a total of 22, last time I’ll see a number that low until November.
Begrudging the plan a little. Looking way ahead instead of staying in the week/day/mile I was in. Ran three miles even though I was sick because that’s what you do when you’re on a plan. The numbers were 3-5-3-5-9, adding up to 25. This has been my steady base mileage through the spring. What’s going to happen as I ramp up and up?
What I like about the Hal Higdon plans is that the first few weeks are really pretty easy, comparatively light and not a push from my ordinary mileage. Still, working the plan around travel was a challenge. I was in San Francisco for the first day, then Boise for the next four, then back in NYC. The plan called for rest-3-5-3-rest-5-8. This ended up as 7-rest-3-5-rest-3-8. Those extra two miles on Monday were so I could see the Golden Gate Bridge from the Embarcadero, totally worth it. Doing the dashboard check, things felt good most of those miles. I have arthritis in the big toe on my right foot and a burgeoning bunion. It usually feels sore after a run, but nothing approaching injury. My left leg tightened up and felt bad bad on that last three miler of the week, but I paid some attention to massaging my quad and things felt fine on my Sunday run. Pace ranged between 10:40 in San Francisco to 15:00 in those Boise hills. NYC running, where I do most of my training, was right about 11:00. My two Boise runs were very tough and very slow–that thinner air makes a difference, and the mountains aren’t easy. But getting to run a trail with my dad? That’s a lucky lucky thing. Back in NYC, I would have skipped the three miler on Saturday if it hadn’t been for the plan. I couldn’t get to it until later in the day because of childcare stuff and by 11am it was way too hot. But: the training plan. Hitting every workout, that was the plan for this week, and is the plan for the next eighteen.